by James Penha
After “Falling: Emerge #16” by Clara Lieu (sketch drawn on 12″ x 9″ white charcoal paper with lithographic rubbing ink and a white plastic eraser).
“I realise how accustomed I became to depression’s influence; many emotions and feelings belonged to it and not my own personality.” —Clara Lieu
Yesterday was such a good day, so many laughs in the car and through our masks as we walked the dog on the beach newly reopened and full of other escapees from the lockdown and fear— he was ebullient, not even letting his denting the fender backing into the tree distract him so I knew today he’d crash. I thought to write it dated on the front page of the newspaper: I know tomorrow you‘ll be angry and depressed because that is how this works. Please believe me. Please understand yourself. But I didn’t although I told him today that I planned to, that I have seen this too many times not to see it coming. You are bi-polar, my love. He did not react well. He never does when I try with a google education not to blame him for the paranoia, rage— and, hardest to take, the venom spit at me. That— no that, I still don’t get—comprehend—because get it I do.
A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his work has lately appeared in several anthologies: The View From Olympia (Half Moon Books, UK), Queers Who Don’t Quit (Queer Pack, EU), What We Talk About It When We Talk About It, (Darkhouse Books), Headcase , (Oxford UP), Lovejets (Squares and Rebels), and What Remains (Gelles-Cole). His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha